62nd Annual and Scientific Meeting 2014 - Dr. John Fleetwood Medal

Dr. John Fleetwood Medal 

The IGS is delighted to have the honour of naming this special undergraduate student award after Dr John Fleetwood.

In 2014, the inaugural Dr. John Fleetwood medal was awarded to Catherine O'Dare of Trinity College Dublin for her abstract “Words Open Windows”: Older Women’s Experiences of Adult Literacy Service

Dr John Fleetwood Senior was the founder and first secretary of the Irish Gerontological Society, one of the oldest societies in the world dedicated to the study of the science of ageing and the practice of medicine in older people.

He was born in Edinburgh and moved to Ireland as a child when his father, a marine engineer, was posted to Dublin. He graduated in medicine from UCD in 1941 and practiced as a general practitioner in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.  He was also Chief Medical Officer to Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross.

John was a founding member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London and was made a fellow of the College in 1967. He was the first lecturer in general practice in University College Dublin and was instrumental in the development of clinical teaching in a general practice setting in Ireland. 

The first meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society took place in John’s house in Blackrock on the 23rd October 1950. Among those present was Professor Jerry Jessop of TCD, who became the first president of the society. John continued as secretary up until 1982 when he took over as President of the Society until 1986. He was on the governing committee of the International Association of Gerontology and he was a very active voice on the international stage for healthy and active ageing.  John made a major contribution to bringing health care issues of the older population into the public domain and he was a regular voice on the public airways.

John was a wonderful example of “Active Living” up until the day he died. He was president of the Sandycove Bathers’ Association and was still swimming in the 40 Foot up until the time he died peacefully at the age of 90.  He had an endless enthusiasm and unlimited energy. Forever open to new challenges, his mind remained eternally youthful. His compassion was legendary and he was greatly loved by staff who worked with him in his practice and in the Hospice.  He continued to write and publish up until the day he died.  He lectured weekly on Active Retirement and delivered his last lecture when he was 90, just a month before he died. 

John is remembered nationally and internationally as a wonderful and caring doctor and a great advocate of active living who personally fully lived what he preached all his life.

The Irish Gerontological Society owes him a great debt.